By Judson Rollins
March 13, 2019, © Leeham News: The traveling public’s faith in Boeing – and that of regulators in dozens of countries – has clearly taken a beating.
The 737 MAX has now been grounded or banned in nearly every jurisdiction in which it was operating just a few days ago.
Sunday’s tragic accident in Ethiopia bears an uncanny resemblance to the circumstances of the October crash of Lion Air 610, a fact which Boeing has tried to downplay by arguing that both accidents are still under investigation. The earlier accident is widely believed to have been caused by repeated nose-down trim responses driven by the MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which in turn may have been influenced by inputs from a faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) sensor.
March 12, 2019, (c) Leeham News: EASA, the European air safety regulator, grounded the Boeing 737-8/9 operated by EU airlines and banned operation of the airplanes operated by third-party airlines/countries.
The press release is here.
The US Federal Aviation Administration still is silent about grounding the airplanes in the US.
The UK’s decision to ban the MAX is, up to now, the most important development in the growing crisis of confidence in the safety of the MAX.
The UK and continental Europe’s regulators, EASA, are considered tough regulators who usually work in concert with the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration. That the UK authority is now ahead of the FAA is crucial. If EASA follows suit, the blow to the FAA and to Boeing will be huge.
March 12, 2019, © Leeham News: About 40% of the world’s in-service Boeing 737 MAX fleet were grounded by the end of yesterday, Seattle time, after more governments and airlines banned operations.
Singapore was the latest to ban MAX operations from its air space.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday there isn’t enough information yet from the Ethiopian Airlines crash Sunday to conclude a grounding order is necessary.
But it added that it will issue an order for a mandatory action by April to make improvements to the flight control system. Boeing late Monday confirmed a software upgrade is in the works for its MCAS stall recovery system used on the MAX.
LNA reported early Monday that a plan to implement a software upgrade following the October crash of a Lion Air MAX 8 had not been implemented.
Update: Royal Air Maroc, Mongolian Airlines ground MAX.
March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Indonesia regulators today joined China, Grand Cayman Airways and Ethiopian Airlines in grounding the Boeing 737 MAX pending investigations or inspections.
The moves came within 36 hours of the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302, a MAX 8, six minutes after take off from Addis Ababa. The crash killed all 157 people on board five months after a Lion Air 737-8 crash that killed 189 passengers and crew. Lion Air is an Indonesian carrier. The airline’s JT610 crashed 12 minutes after take off.
March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Digital transformation is critical to Boeing’s evolving business model. But suppliers are in no rush to hand over their data to Boeing.
For more than a year, the airplane maker has been moving toward a new system for managing inventory and parts. As LNA noted last year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ management expects the new system, known as SAP, will streamline parts delivery and cut costs for Boeing and suppliers. BCA has been pushing suppliers for more transparency of their own supply chains and production flows. It likely would not surprise many industry watchers if BCA moves to integrate its suppliers into SAP in some fashion down the road.
Managers and executives at several suppliers told LNA that they expect Boeing to push for greater access to their companies’ internal data in coming years. They expressed ambivalence between potential efficiency gains and loss of autonomy.
March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s late. There have been creeping delays. There’s been design creep. There were unknown unknowns. It’s way over budget.
No, it’s not a new airplane program, though the parallels are quite apparent.
It’s our new house.
After a three year process, including changing builders, going through the city twice, hitting expensive unknowns and facing rising costs, today is finally, finally, moving day.
It’s been a horrible experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
This will sound familiar to Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and, to a lesser extent, GE and CFM. Only Embraer can say it finished on time and on budget.
Both sides can come away feeling OK with how they did at the bargaining table. But the biggest winner in these talks actually was Boeing, which now doesn’t have to worry about a break in the flow of 737 landing gear for the next 40 months.
UPDATE, 4:30pm PDT: China and Grand Cayman Airlines have ground the 737 MAX. Developing.
UPDATE, 6:45pm PDT: China CAAC to review grounding order on their Monday, March 11, for further action.
March 10, 2019 (c) Leeham News: The crash today of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX is raising more intense questions–and speculation–than usual after a crash because it comes in the wake of the Lion Air 737-8 crash last year.
Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times has about as comprehensive a wrap up at this stage on the available information here.
It should be noted that Ethiopian is considered one of the best airlines in the world and the best in Africa. It’s got a good safety record and service is considered very good. This is in contrast to the spotty safety record of Lion Air.
Below are factors investigators will consider: